Musk bets he can fix Aussie power woes in 100 days or it's free

Musk Photo credit: BLOOMBERG

Elon Musk bets he can solve a looming energy crisis in Australia within 100 days by deploying Tesla Inc. technology to plug a supply gap which has caused power blackouts.

In a conversation on Twitter with Australian tech billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes, Musk backed up an earlier commitment Tesla made Thursday to deploy its Powerwall and Powerpack products to supply up to 100 megawatt hours of power.

"Tesla will get the system installed and working 100 days from contract signature or it is free," Musk, Tesla's CEO, wrote on Twitter on Friday. Cannon-Brookes responded to Musk "you're on mate" and asked for a quote at "mates rates" on the cost of installing a 100-megawatt system.

A later tweet from Musk said Tesla could supply the system at $250 per kilowatt hour, pricing the project at $25 million.

South Australia suffered a state-wide blackout in September after severe storms caused a transmission failure. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull blamed the power cut on the state's rapid take-up of renewable power. Solar and wind account for about 40 percent of its power generation, which is the highest of any mainland state.

Renewable energy -- championed globally as a tool to combat global warming -- is a contentious issue in Australia, the world's biggest coal exporter. Since winning power in 2013 under then-leader Tony Abbott, the coalition government has dismantled a levy on carbon emissions and cut targets for how much energy it aims to draw from wind and solar generation by 2020.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has denied the blackout was connected to the state's reliance on renewable energy, describing it as a weather event. Weatherill, in a Twitter post Friday, said he's "looking forward" to discussing the Tesla proposal.

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